Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between. Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!
A Special Shakey's Moment
When I was a kid, going out to dinner was a treat. My mom (who passed away in June) ran her own plant business and whenever she had one of her sales, if she did well, that was our reward. The sale was always on a Sunday at our house in the garage she had converted to a greenhouse. We’d run up to her constantly and look in the cash drawer.
“Mom, do you think you’re making enough for us to go to dinner?”
“Not if you guys keep distracting me from my customers,” she’d say with a laugh.
It was always a toss up between Shakey’s Pizza and Ponderosa. Both had the all-you-could-eat salad bar. At Ponderosa, we loved taking the red plastic tray down the line to pick out side dishes. We always brought our lunch to school, so cafeteria style, complete with hot food was like hitting it big time. And the vinyl booths both places sported? You couldn’t get more chic.
Shakey’s had the arcade. We’d play the games while we waited for our pizza. And we’d always walk out with some form of trinket junk that would inevitably end up on the floor of the car, or in the hamsters cage a week later, with everyone denying who put it there.
On Sunday, it was pouring rain here in LA. I was stir crazy. I begged Phil to go with me to Lamps Plus. We desperately needed light in our living room. He equates lamp stores to the horrible fabric stores his mom dragged him to as a kid. But after much debate, he agreed. I’ll admit, having a hyper 2-year old running through a crowded lamp store screaming “I pooped!” isn’t ideal, but we found two lights so mission accomplished (btw—she didn’t poop. It just happens to be her favorite sentence).
On the way home, I spotted a Shakey’s Pizza. Phil was game, seeing as his day was already ruined by the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) of Lamps Plus. We started to reminisce about our childhood Shakey’s experiences. We got excited to take Fia. We agreed it was a milestone—a rite of passage. Granted, she’s a little young, but we’re overachievers.
It was 5 pm and jam-packed. Phil ordered and I took Fia to the arcade, where she touched every button, even the car pedal on the floor. I was totally grossed out. There were kids running everywhere and I could feel the filth in the air. She won a spin top trinket. The perfect choking hazard. She was so excited putting her tickets into the machine. “More! More!” she kept yelling.
She was in heaven.
At our booth, Fia kept touching the vinyl part that was ripped, laughing, while trying to destroy the hole further. I grabbed the sani-wipes and went to town on everything— the highchair, table, our hands—even the booth.
At the salad bar, I cringed at the cough guard, trying to forget a Dateline special I saw about the germs on those things.
When the pizza came, Phil and I could barely eat it. Granted, we’re snobby NYC pizza lovers, but this stuff tasted worse than frozen. Fia, who is typically a picky eater, devoured it, all the while playing with her choking hazard toy. And for once in her life, she couldn’t get enough of the garbanzo beans from the salad bar. At a nice restaurant she will refuse them. Here, they were like candy. She ate about 33 of them.
That night, all I could think of was how gross I felt; how I have to start exercising and eating better. Fia slept the longest she has in months–12 hours.
As a grownup, I’m a snob with a lot of stuff. And I guess this is one of them. I can’t say we’re going to become regulars at Shakey’s. Or ever go there again. But even at the expense of my sanity, I’ll admit, it’s fun traveling down memory lane, marveling at how little we cared about things as kids that we adults get so uptight about. This is the part of parenthood that puts life in perspective. In a good way.
Every once in a while we all need a Shakey’s experience. Tell me yours.
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday
Sunday, October 16th, 2011
I begged Phi to take over today. He lasted 30 seconds. Argh.
I have become a circus performer. Ever since I wrote a few days ago about Fia’s finicky eating, I have taken in your comments like a sponge. My best luck from your tips so far has been the art of distraction. It is exhausting. I dance. I sing. I bark like a dog, moo like a cow, chirp like a bird. I ask her to color. To rip up paper. To bok like a chicken in her highchair. All the while, I shove the food in her mouth. I move from one distraction to another about every 2 minutes. Because it’s about then that she says “All Done.” And I don’t believe her. Usually I’m right. A new distraction gets a new round of eating. I sweat. I go on all fours. I jump. But, it’s working.
Our kitchen has been shipped to LA so we have little to cook with. So the other day I took her to a restaurant. There, since I was a bit embarrassed to hop on one foot like a monkey, I distracted her for 20 minutes with a squirt bottle of hand sanitizer. She kept saying more, I’d squirt, she’d rub her hands together, I’d shove food in her mouth, she’d ask for another squirt. Granted it was the alcohol-free kind, but I kid you not, I went through about 300 squirts. Probably got at least that many calories in her stomach. And lord knows, she had the cleanest hands in Brooklyn. I think I’ll get a water bottle next time and pretend it’s sanitizer.
My resume is going to get updated this weekend. The first line will say Animal Imitator/Circus Performer. Hopefully in a few months, she’ll just eat on her own and I can take that line off. But for now, I’m going to embrace the 3-ring circus that is fast becoming my life. (Wayne being the 3rd ring, as he hungrily eats her crumbs).
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The Svelte Scavenger
art of distraction, distraction, eating, eating problems, eating tips, feeding problems, food, food problems, picky, picky eater, picky eaters, toddler, Wayne Sanchez | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Must Read
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Yesterday's Lunch Consisted of Cream Cheese Licked Off the Bagel
Fia’s food thing is driving me CRAZY. I watch her little friends shove fistfuls of food in their mouths. I sigh. I am exasperated.
It’s not that she’s particularly picky. It’s that often times she’s just not hungry until it’s too late. By that, I mean, she won’t eat, then will melt down later on, and nothing will console her. She’s always been a small eater, but at lunch, she rarely wants anything other than junk food. I have tried all sorts of foods, but she refuses to eat, or if she does, she only wants crap.
By dinner, she is quite hungry and usually eats decently. But guess what happens between lunch and dinner? She completely melts down. And my sanity goes south.
I know, all the books, experts, blah blah say you can’t control their food. You need to put whatever you’re serving in front of them and let them eat on their own terms. If I hear, “Your baby won’t starve. She’ll eat when she’s hungry,” one more time, I will scream. BECAUSE THAT’S NOT MY DILEMMA. I know she won’t starve. But my brain might explode.
I mean, yeah, on a scientific level I get it. She doesn’t need that many calories to sustain her little self. But when you’re at the playground at 4:30 pm and she throws herself on the ground crying, I absolutely know it’s because she’s hungry and hasn’t eaten. That’s a problem.
I know that toddlers are apparently controlling when it comes to their food. But what I don’t believe is that she has the depth to think, “Hmm, I’m cranky because I didn’t eat.” Isn’t that what we have to teach them? But how? I can’t force food in her mouth. Believe me, I’ve tried. She spits it right back out. Usually all over the floor, where hungry Wayne Sanchez anxiously awaits a bonus bite.
For lunch today, all she wanted was crackers and cookies. Nothing else. Do I relent and let her eat junk food just so she gets something in her stomach? I will if that is the temporary solution. (I could at least get organic junk food and not feel as badly about it.) Or do I hold firm and deal with the consequences of a screaming, unhappy baby?
Fellow Blogger Heather Morgan Shott recently wrote about her dilemma with Mason suddenly becoming a picky eater at home. So I know the food thing is a familiar topic with many of us moms. But what I can’t find is a solution to the mood swings/consequences that occur when she won’t eat. Or at least when she doesn’t want anything even remotely healthy. Anyone want to offer up any advice? I’m all ears.
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cranky, crying baby, eaters, eating problems, feeding problems, food, food problems, fussy baby, hungry, junk food, junkfood, mealtime, meltdown, picky, picky eater, picky eaters | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Must Read